Menhaden Rebound a Boon for the Crystal Coast

By Capt. Gordon Churchill
When resource managers allow fish populations to rebound, anglers get more excited about fishing, the health of our coastal ecosystems improves, and our coastal economies become more robust. A major case in point: The increase of menhaden abundance along North Carolina’s coast.

Scientists call menhaden (Brevoortia tyrannus), a.k.a “bunker” or “pogy,” the most important fish in the Atlantic ocean. They consume tiny plants called phytoplankton, turning them into high-octane proteins and fats. This essential building blocks to fuel the predator fish species that we pursue with such enthusiasm, as well as the birds that often give their schools away, and marine mammals such as whales and dolphins that make wildlife watching an intrinsic part of any great day on North Carolina waters.

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